THE heavyweight rematch between Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte is off.

Scheduled for next Saturday (August 12) at London’s O2 Arena the announcement was made by show promoter Eddie Hearn on Twitter today (August 5) where he posted the following:

“Today the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association [VADA} informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol.

“In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled, and a full investigation will be conducted.

“Further information on the event will follow.”

The shock news casts yet another dark cloud over the sport which is been doing its best to remind fans what it’s capable of with some stellar matchups in 2023.

Whyte is no stranger to being involved in cases such as these. In 2012 the British heavyweight tested positive for methylhexaneamine (MHA) on October 13 following his win against Sandor Balogh.

During a tribunal in March 2013 accepted Whyte’s claim he did not knowingly take MHA but rejected his appeal because he failed to do enough to check the supplement’s ingredients. Whyte was suspended from competition until October 12, 2014. The Londoner next fought on August 1, 2015, beating Irineu Beato Costa Junior by first round knockout. Five months later he and Joshua carried on their amateur boxing rivalry into the professional ranks when they met for the British heavyweight title. Joshua proved to be the superior fighter and stopped Whyte in the seventh round of a fiery affair.

Fast forward four years to the summer of 2019 when Whyte faced Oscar Rivas for the vacant Interim WBC strap. Prior to his points win where he was dropped in the ninth round the Brit tested positive for a banned substance. The news broke days later and Hearn, who promoted Whyte at the time, wrote on social media, “Further to reports, I can confirm that both Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas were subject to extensive Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada) and Ukad testing for their bout. Both fighters were cleared to fight by both bodies and the BBBofC.”

It was revealed by Thomas Hauser for Boxing Scene four days after the fight that Whyte tested positive for the banned substances epimethandienone and hydroxymethandienone, byproducts of the anabolic steroid dianabol.

Charges were eventually dropped and UKAD released a statement in December 2019 clearing Whyte which read:

‘UK Anti-Doping and the professional boxer, Dillian Whyte, can today jointly confirm that Mr. Whyte was charged with an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) earlier this year. That charge has now been withdrawn.

‘The charge was brought after a sample provided by Mr. Whyte on 20 June 2019 indicated the presence of two metabolites of a steroid.

‘UKAD initiated an investigation. Mr. Whyte cooperated fully. UKAD has accepted the explanation provided by Mr. Whyte and, in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules, the charge against Mr. Whyte has been withdrawn.

‘This would ordinarily mean that UKAD would not make any public statement, in accordance with the applicable confidentiality rules to which UKAD is subject.

‘However, since certain confidential information relating to this matter (including the fact of the initial charge) has unfortunately made its way into the public domain, UKAD and Mr. Whyte have agreed to take the unusual step of releasing the following limited information to put an end to speculation concerning Mr. Whyte’s status.’

Whyte has fought five times since then with three wins and two defeats to his name. His last opponent was Jermaine Franklin who lost narrowly by majority decision last November.

Joshua will now need to decide whether he pursues another fight against a new opponent or goes straight into the heavily rumoured Deontay Wilder clash in early 2024.

No comment has been made by either fighter as of yet. Whyte recently posted a picture of himself and trainer Buddy McGirt in camp on his Instagram profile yesterday.